Online guitar lesson: Guitar Arpeggios

A guitar arpeggio is a broken up guitar chord where each note is played individually instead of playing them all in one strum. It is like taking a guitar chord and stretching it out, note by note across several strings and frets on the guitar neck.

Arpeggios are a great easy way to add interest to your guitar solos by using them to transition from lick to lick or even to another key. You don’t have to be a Guitar Hero like Yngwie Malmsteen or even Zakk Wylde to make use of arpeggios in simple forms here and there. It is easy and sounds great to take one chord and play it in the form of an arpeggio within your normal guitar soloing routine.

There are three ways to play an arpeggio:

Conventional guitar picking - This would be the method of picking you are likely used to by now. It is simply plucking notes individually alternating between up and down strokes.

Hammer on / Pull-off technique- You can mix hammer-ons and pull-offs ‘ into any peice of music to give it a smooth guitar solo style.  When playing a multi-string arpeggio on the guitar you may want to use either a hammer on or pull off, or several of them to add more interest to your playing.

Sweep-picking technique – Sweep picking is an easy guitar method to master which produces a very cool effect. You can practice sweep picking by fretting a guitar chord that you are comfortable with (such as a Am) and strumming with a rigid wrist to pluch each note individually. Use a sweeping motion of the pick and combine with your fret hand technique to sound each note of the chord indivually.

Example of a major guitar arpeggio:

guitar arpeggio major

Practice this arpeggio using each of the three techniques for arpeggios that we have covered in this online guitar lesson

Poll:Fender Stratocaster VS. Gibson SG

Did you know the Gibson SG’s double cutaway ‘horned’ design was intended to compete with the Fender Stratocaster? Gibson introduced the new design in the 60′s when Les Paul sales were slumping.

Vote for your favorite right now !

Fender Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster electric guitarThe Fender Stratocaster was designed by Leo Fender, George Fullerton and Freddie Tavares in 1954. The Strat has been played by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Yngiwie Malmsteen, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour or Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix as well as Buddy Holly who is known as the “first Strat Hero”.

Gibson SG

 Gibson SG electric guitar

The Gibson SG was originally the redesigned Les Paul model for 1961. Les Paul didn’t like the new design and asked for his name to be removed. They renamed it the SG for Solid Guitar.

The Gibson SG electric guitar was played by Angus Young of AC/DC, Elliot Easton of The Cars, Black Sabbaths’ Tony Iommi and Robby Krieger from The Doors. Eric Clapton played an SG in the 60s with Cream and Jimmy Page is known for using various SG model guitars.

Gibson VS Fender: Which of these classic guitars do you prefer?
( polls)

Guitar Idol : How could it not exist?

Well the answer is: It couldn’t not exist. Not in this world. Being as there is a reality show for just about anything these days.. I’m surprised this one isn’t on network television stations yet.

Nope. Guitar Idol is a web based reality show complete with 8 shredding judges. Entrants upload videos and submit them for viewer voting heat after heat until the final round of judging takes place. The musical genres range from jazz to rock to blues and, of course, Shred.

Thousands of guitarists will battle for 12 places to perform live on the main stage at the massive London International Music Show in June 2009 and be crowned Worldwide Guitar Idol 2009

The competition has some major sponsors too. The likes of Ernie Ball, Paul Reed Smith and even the mighty Marshall are backing the Idols.

Guitar Idol is free to enter and open to all ages.

Things that look like guitars… but aren’t

Yesterday’s guitar amp storefront photo got me interested in more guitar-theme architecture (or guitarchitecture) and I decided to look for some more. I found there are some very creative guitar themed buildings and items available. Some more impressive than others, no doubt.

Have a look at some of these amazingly creative bits of eye candy from around the interweb.

Guitar shaped mansion

Another guitar shaped house

Guitar shaped swimming pool

Not a guitar shaped building per say… but a string instrument and impressive feat of architecture nontheless

Guitar toilet

You’ve likely heard of famous photos of musicians playing guitar on the toilet.. but what about playing guitar on a guitar shaped toilet seat?

Guitar made from lego blocks

via geekasaurus

Guitar boat

via vubx

And if that guitar shaped boat should sink… you can still be laid to rest in style with this fabulous

Guitar shaped coffin

via crazy coffins exhibit

Is it too tacky to have everyday items like tables and chairs shaped like guitars? Would your wife let you have ANY of these things? Found something great that should be on this list? Let me know by posting a comment.

Guitar store that looks like a Fender guitar amp

via flickr

This guitar shop in Southampton, England looks just like a Fender Champ when the place is closed. Notice the knobs go to 11!  Why? Because its’ louder than 10.

This store has been a longstanding landmark known among guitarists’ for some time but recently hit the front page of major social bookmarking sites’ like Digg and Reddit when it was posted to Flickr .

What does a 209 pound guitar sound like?

Pretty darn good, actually. Gear4music’s Black Knight CP-200F electrics run only £209.95 and sound as good as some of their brand name competitors.

In this video review Miles Gilderdale of Acoustic Alchemy shows some of the different tones these guitars are capable of. He shows off some of its great warm tones for big heavy jazzy tones and take it to the other extreme for a polished clean distortion for a heavy rock tone.

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Black Knight CP-200F Electric Guitar by delivers sound for pound. The guitar has a solid mahogany body in a single cutaway shape and is equipped with two EMG high output humbucking pickups. The fretboard is rosewood

The guitar has been featured in Performing Musician Magazine, Guitar Buyer and Guitar and Bass Magazine each of them giving it a full thumbs up review.  Currently gear4music does not have a system in place to ship to North America, but say they are working on it. This is certainly not the kind of quality we typically see in our budget guitars.

Introduction to guitar effects pedals

There are so many options for guitar effects that it can be easy to get overwhelmed. When you look at a guitar set-up at a concert you may think you could never comprehend how to set a similar one up but even the most complex guitar rig can be broken into more bite-sized sections.

This guitar pedal introductory guide will get you started on the types of pedals that are out there before we get into the nitty gritty of it all. We’ll be looking at the categories and types of guitar effects that are out there and a rough guide on how to operate them. We can’t explain every pedal so make sure you have your instruction manual handy.

Later, we’ll be discussing the differences between the major effects pedals of the same type.

Types of guitar effects

Distortion - i.e. Overdrive, Grunge, Gain, Tube Screamer

Most amplifiers have their own distortion or crunch channel that can be activated by a footswitch. If your amp doesn’t have a distortion channel or you prefer another sound then you might want to use a stompbox distortion.

A good example for hearing the difference between a clean guitar and a distorted guitar can be observed in the music of Nirvana. Nirvana frequently made use of a riff being played clean at first and dirty later. The first line of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is the same riff as the chorus but it is played without the distortion and then the band kicks in and the riff is played with distortion. Another good example can be heard in “Come as you are” where the song ends with the main clean guitar riff played fully distorted.

Popular distortion pedals – Boss DS-1, Big Muff, DOD Grunge, Ibanez Tube Screamer

Modulation effects - i.e. Chorus, Flanger, Phase Shifter, Ring Modulator

Examples of modulation effects are everywhere in music. It can have very broad effects on the guitar sound. A popular example of a phase effect is the rhythm guitar parts to “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd or “Us and Them” by Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix,  and generations of artists to follow used Flanger, Rotary speaker and Chorus effects to produce different sounds with their guitars.

Mod pedals typically have level/mix, depth and rate knobs (these will obviously have varying names from effect to effect but we’ll  survive). Level and mix can sometimes be separate, but they essentially control how much fx signal is mixed with the clean signal. Depth will control the extremity of the effect you are using. A chorus effect with the depth around 7 will sound like an alien life-form. Same with a flanger pedal. Put the depth on a chorus safely between 2 – 5.5 for the subtle effect of two guitars in one. Rate

Time-based effects - Delay, Echo, Reverb

David Gilmour from Pink Floyd made great use of delay effects in the guitar parts throughout his work with the band. There are memorable delay effects in many of the tracks on “The Wall”. The ping-pong guitar rhythm that is heard in “Run Like Hell” is mimmicked in two parts of “Another Brick in The Wall” and other various little bits on the album. Lead guitar players frequently use a very subtle echo or delay to give their guitar solo an extra bit of dazzle.

I have a multi-fx unit that is intended to be a standalone simulator of an entire guitar rig and its’ sole purpose in my set-up is to use its’ delay, echo and reverb function. A lot of amps and even some good mod-combo boxes have delay and reverb included as a side-function.

Volume effects - Volume, Tremolo, Auto-Gate

Morley Wah / Volume / Distortion – A great first  pedal for beginner’s . It lets you get the hang of some major effects all in one unit.

A volume pedal can be used to simulate a backwards guitar sound. Autovolume pedals also create the effect of a guitar recording played in reverse.  You can use a tremolo pedal to make your guitar sound like a helicopter. It does to a guitar sound what a strobe effect does to a light.

Envelope / Filtering effects - Wah pedal, Equalizer, Talk Box

The talkbox was used by Jimi Hendrix but later popularized in Peter Frampton’s unforgettable “Show Me The Way”. It was also a favorite of Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, who uses it in the hits “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “It’s My Life”. Auto-wah effects, if used correctly, can produce some interesting sounds. A good example is the guitar solo in “Beverly Hills” by Weezer which uses an auto-wah. But if you’re anything like me you prefer ‘the real thing’. An old-fashioned manual wah pedal. The Dunlop Crybaby is practically a standard part of a rock or rhythm guitarist’s rig. Every great guitarist in popular music from Slash to Eric Clapton is known to use a wah pedal frequently.

Pitch effects - Whammy pedal, Octaver, Pitch-Shifter

The guitar solo in Black Sabbath’s Paranoid made interesting use of an Octaver pedal. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin also used Octave effects and they became popular with 80′s metal and arena rock bands. Later in the 90′s Tom Morello took it to another level with his memorable guitar solos in “Killing in The Name Of” and trademark ‘scratching’ technique heard in “Bulls On Parade” (the intro also uses a wah pedal). Morello makes full use of his whammy pedal to produce all kinds of angry insect noises heard throughout his recording career.

How to set up a guitar pedal

Effect stompboxes have input and output jacks. Some of them have multiple outputs for stereo effects but you need two amps to do this properly.

Direct  Connection - Connect one end of a patch cable from your guitar to the input jack on your box. Connect another patchcord from the output of the pedal to the input on your amp.

Tip – Disconnect your patchcord from the input jack whenever you are not playing. This will preserve battery life.

Effects loop connection – Connect a patchcord from effects send on your amp to the input on your box. Connect another patchcord to the output on the pedal to the effects receive jack.  The veteran readers will no doubt remember when to use the effects loop from September’s post, How to use the effects loop on a guitar amp.

Most effects units and pedals have an indicator light to show whether the pedal is on or not. When a pedal is in bypass mode the effects are off and the light will be off. Switch between modes by stepping on the pedal and if nessecary adjust the level to match the bypass level (the volume level of the guitar with the pedal switched off).

Well I hope this guide has helped you to understand some of the types of guitar effects pedals and you are on your way to deciding what pedal is right for your sound. If you still have questions feel free to leave a comment so I can help. Did I miss something? Feel free to let me know.

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25 hottest girls who rock

Girls with guitars are a wonderful thing. When you see a girl who rocks its even more wonderful. These rocker girls don’t need no Daisy Rocks (not that there’s anything wrong with that) . Here are the 25 hottest girls in rock and roll music.

Melissa Etheridge


Amanda Marshall


Linda Perry


Best known from 4 Non Blondes.

Joan Jett


Brody Dalle


The Distillers sexy lead singer is a beloved punk rock beauty queen who has been involved with Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age

Cristina Scabbia


Lacuna Coil’s lead vocalist Christina Scabbia hasthe looks and the growl every metal head adores.

Shirley Manson


Shirley Manson of Garbage

The Wilson Sisters from Heart


Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart were among the early women in rock and helped to pave the way for rocker girls everywhereé

Kim Gordon


Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth

Kay Hanley


Formerly of Letters to Cleo, Hanley is probably best known as the voice who sang for Rachel Leigh Cook in Josie and the Pussycats.

Cyndi Lauper


For the legendary hit ‘Girls just wanna’ have fun’ and for dressing up as a school girl to sing ‘Another Brick in The Wall’, Cyndi Lauper will always have a special place in our hearts.

Kristen McRory


Lead singer of Tsunami Bomb, the California pop-punk band.

Debbie Harry


Just like the music of Blondie, Debbie Harry’s looks will never go out of style.

Sheryl Crow


Lily Allen


Emily Haines


Metric’s Emily Haines has beauty and brains. Her solo material is also excellent.

Maja Ivarrson


Frenetic frontwoman of the New Wave Suedes

Nina Gordon


Formerly of Veruca Salt

Katy Perry




Feist is not only gorgious but the Canadian singer/songwriter has a lengthy Canadian pop music resume including guitar and vocal work in By Devine Right, Peaches and Broken Social Scene before launching her solo career.

Liz Phair




Pink succeeds where her fellow pop star diva’s fail in not only having songs with substance, but her music also rocks.

Bif Naked


I’ve seen Bif Naked perform live in two cities and she still pretends like she doesn’t know me. I don’t know what gives but I forgive her because she is hot and she rocks.

Gwen Stefani


From her early rocking with No Doubt to her modern, dance influenced hits, Gwen has always been known for both rocking hard and being provacative.

Pat Benetar


You can’t mention girls who rock without mentioning Pat Benetar.

Why it sucks to be a rapper

Lets be honest, rock music has always been better than rap music. There have only been a few succesful crossovers (Body Count or Rage Against the Machine). Rock will always have the best musicians, the best fanbase (and the best groupies). Mohib of Mind Power Blog and I put together this list which proves why it sucks to be a rapper and why it rocks to be a rocker.

Definition of lousiness
Definition of coolness
Rappers need to show their ass
Rockers need to kick some ass
Rappers need two fingers
Rockers only need one finger
Rappers bang underage girls on stage

Rockers have the most stunning groupies in the world


Rockers use drugs to transcend mindsets and come up with great lyrical content


Rappers use drugs as lyrical content


Sir Mixalot like Big Butts in 1992


Queen liked Fat Bottom Girls in 1978